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How to use audience marketing to make engaging digital campaigns in 2018

audience marketing
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Audience marketing is a progressive way of targeting potential customers, looking at them with a more personal lens, not just aiming vaguely at a demographic.

It takes into consideration the behaviors, perceptions and mindsets of people in all demographics, filtering down to those who fit more specific criteria.

For instance, marketers for a new burger brand, rather than just blanket targeting US twenty-somethings who say they’re interested in burgers, can use audience intelligence to identify a narrower city-dwelling Millennial audience who prefer a more gourmet style of burger on the weekend with their friends to target. Using behaviours, perceptions and mindsets they can know with far more confidence that those people are their audience.

This audience are incredibly likely to be interested in the brand’s fast-casual up-market selection of burgers and are more likely to act on their messages. It’s a precise science that involves studying social data to build a clear picture of who you’re speaking to and when you should speak to them.

The 3 pillars of audience marketing

There are three elements of social data to use to identify your audience: Perceptions, Moments and Behaviors. By analysing these, you can narrow down huge datasets from entire social networks into manageable and specific subcategories.

Here’s how to use them to break down demographics to create engaging campaigns:

Perceptions: People show what they actually think on their social media profiles much more than in other online mediums. Whether they love or hate something, looking at perceptions around a topic or product is vital to marketing.

Network analysis will give you hints into emotion around that topic or product, and key areas to tap into. You can then use these to gauge reaction to new products and tailor your campaigns during planning, or see what people are saying about your new product or service once it’s launched.

Moments: Moments in time – like the commute, the end of the working week, or a stage in life like having a child – are when people will be likely to need for certain products or show specific emotions – like being enraged by their commute, or being excited to go out at the weekend.

Finding the audience who are most active during certain moments can increase campaign success as they’re more likely to interact with prompts. By looking at when consumers use or talk about topics or products, you can identify where and when your offering can fit in to your audience’s life or see a gap in the market for something new.

Building your campaign around these moments means your product has the chance to become a key part of someone’s day, week, or even life.

Behaviors: Your audience show more behaviors than you might assume through content they share and the places or activities they talk about on social media. This means it’s possible to interpret things like where and when they have shopped, places they have visited and what events cause them to make decisions.

Once you have this information, you have indicators about their lifestyle, buying behaviors and favourite brands and places. If you tailor your products and campaigns to intersect with various behaviours and appeal to your audience when they’re most likely to engage, your marketing is much more likely to be successful.

How is any of this useful?

The power of social data lies in the ability to identify your audience: that group of people who either are already engaged with your advertising or are likely to engage with it. You can discover their mindsets, and exactly what they are talking about and therefore to create aligned campaigns. By doing this, you avoid spending large budgets on campaigns which, while they may look and sound on point, fail to engage your true audience and achieve your objectives.

Audience marketing techniques can be applied across a broad range of campaigns in almost every industry: from a TV spot with a huge budget, to a smaller campaign with just a few online or offline ads. By identifying your audience first, you are no longer shooting in the dark. This also applies to content that you make around the brand or campaign, which can also be tailored based on audience data.

Once you have found your audience, you can become bolder with campaigns, confident in the knowledge that the campaign is underpinned by innovative audience intelligence. Social data is the largest dataset on consumer behavior that there is, and a fantastic resource to get the perceptions, moments and behaviors that your audience share.

By drilling down into the pillars listed above, you can discover what your audience looks like and find out their opinions on your brand, competitors or even potential topics for new campaigns. These are of course the foundations of campaign and product planning, which all marketers should use to create engaging digital campaigns but given to you by the audience (and interpreted through, rather than asking them for their thoughts via surveys or market research projects.

Digital marketing is evolving, evolve with it

As with technology like voice activation, the world of digital marketing is constantly evolving. Audience marketing is the next generation of targeting, replacing generalist demographic targets with a focus on a specific group of people who will enjoy a campaign.

It has been thought that demographic targeting is granular enough, but it can still miss a huge number of people your campaign could resonate with if they don’t fall into the intersection of demographics.

With such a huge dataset to discover online, from social media, news, reviews, blogs and forums you no longer have to rely on small scale and time-heavy surveys and focus groups to find out what people think.

However, while getting hold of the right data can be half the battle, the second half is mastering the creativity which goes into campaigns and content. Even if you’re given a map on how to achieve marketing success, getting to your goal still relies on clever creative from you and your team, but another bonus to profiling your audience is you can also discover what sort of content appeals to them.

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Tom Bracher
Tom Bracher is the UK Marketing Lead at Pulsar Platform, an audience intelligence tool which was born out of a research agency.